The first known hybrid between a dog and a fox was discovered in Brazil

Domestic dog (L) and pampas fox (R).
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  • The first known hybrid between a Pampas fox and a domestic dog was discovered in Brazil.
  • The “amazing” creature shares visual and behavioral characteristics with both animals.
  • Scientists said this type of hybridization could pose a threat to wildlife conservation.

The first known dog-fox hybrid was discovered in the wild after being hit by a car in Brazil.

The British newspaper The Telegraph reported that the animal, nicknamed the canine fox, was found after being transferred to a veterinarian in 2021, and hospital staff were unable to determine its identity.

Scientists studied the animal’s genes, and revealed in a recently published study that the animal’s mother was the Pampas fox. Her father was a domestic dog of unspecified breed.

See a photo of this unique animal here.

Scientists said that the fox dog resembles a dog and a fox and shares their characteristics with both animals.

It refused food in favor of live rodents, barked like a dog but had a thick, fox-like coat of hair, and was initially wary of humans but eventually warmed to them, according to The Telegraph.

Flavia Ferrari, a conservationist who worked with the animal, told The Telegraph it was a “wonderful animal”.

“He was not as docile as a dog, but he also lacked the aggressiveness expected of a wild dog when handled,” she said.

He added: “She had a shy and cautious personality, and generally preferred to stay away from people. Over the time she was admitted to the hospital for treatment, I think she began to feel safer.”

Ferrari said that when she started to feel comfortable, she would sometimes allow herself to be touched and petted, and sometimes she would even play with toys.

Other suggested names for the animal are “graxorra” and “dogxim”, which are references to the Portuguese names for the pampas fox and the female dog.

This type of hybridization between species of different genera is relatively rare and has not been previously documented in South America.

While previous cases of hybridization between domestic dogs and wild dogs – a family of mammals that includes wolves and foxes – have been recorded, this was the first case of hybridization of these two specific species and the first on the continent.

“In our study, we have recorded the first case of hybridization between a single species of wild dog and a domestic dog,” study author Bruna Elenara Sziniewski, a PhD student in genetics and molecular biology at the Federal University do Rio Grande do Sul, told The Telegraph. .

“But, unlike cases of hybridization studied in North America, Europe and Africa, this hybridization occurred between species of distinct genera: Lycalopyx and Canis.”

The study said that this type of hybridization could threaten wildlife conservation due to the risks of introduction and transmission of diseases through the dog.

The Telegraph said the fox terrier was neutered as part of her treatment, so it is not clear whether she is able to reproduce, but scientists believe it is possible.

The animal was recovered at the Veterinary Hospital of the Federal University do Rio Grande do Sul, and then transferred to the Mantenidoro São Praz Conservation Center in the city of Santa María, according to The Telegraph.

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